2013 WY Legislature's General Session
As we head into week 4 of an 8-week legislative session the Wyoming Travel Industry Coalition is monitoring a number of bills pertinent to the Tourism industry in Wyoming.
The Joint Appropriations Committee re-evaluated the “mark up” they performed last week on State Agency budgets. The Wyoming Office of Tourism budget remained as “Governor’s recommendation” which includes the budget cuts as requested by the Governor and prepared by the WOT. WTIC is currently preparing talking points detailing the effectiveness of the Wyoming Office of Tourism and plans to have several key legislators prepared to speak on the House floor should debate about further cuts arise when the budget is debated in the first few weeks of February.
In addition, HB 69 Highway Funding, which raises the state’s fuel tax ten cents per gallon with the proceeds going to highway maintenance, will be heard in Senate Revenue this week. WTIC is a member of a broad coalition supporting this bill and will be on hand to testify in favor. HB 69 generated a significant amount of discussion from both supporters and opponents in the House and the same is likely in the Senate.
A number of other bills important to the Hospitality and Tourism Industry are on our radar and are being monitored daily. You can find a list of these bills below, in addition to instruction for how to reach out to your legislators. Please contact Chris Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
Get Involved! Keep up with Session & Contact your Legislators
The Wyoming legislature began its 2013 session January 8 and runs until the first week of March. All new bills must be introduced by January 23 in the Senate and January 28 in the House. A bill must PASS out of its House of Origin by February 4, only 3 weeks after the session begins. That is why if we ask for your feedback during the next two weeks, we need it almost IMMEDIATELY. Below is a summary of the bills of interest to your association.
The state legislative services office offers an array of options for residents from across the state to follow all of the committee meetings and discussions on the floors of the House and Senate.
Click here for a list of all legislators’ emails, which is their preferred method of contact.
During the session you can contact a legislator to leave a message by calling the Senate receptionist at 307-777-7711 or the House receptionist at 307-777-7852.
To check on committee schedules, view bills, listen to live broadcasts of the legislative session or find out how individual legislators vote, log on to the Legislative website at http://legisweb.state.wy.us
You can also comment on bills online by visiting http://legisweb.state.wy.us/postcomments/onlinehotline.aspx.
While Wyoming is not having the extreme budget crisis of other states, Wyoming’s executive and legislative branch leadership are reigning in expenses by reducing the budget allocations of all agencies by an average of 6.5% (some more and some less). WTIC is closely monitoring the Joint Appropriations Committee markup of the Wyoming Office of Tourism bi-ennium budget. WTIC is keeping an eye on this process to make sure critical business infrastructure and programs are kept in place. In that vein, WTIC supports a user fee to maintain Wyoming highways in the form of an increase in the gasoline tax (the second lowest in the country.) If everyone doesn’t share the burden of maintaining our highways, other taxes, including sales and business taxes, will have to assume the burden.
Wyoming Office of Tourism
The Joint Appropriations Committee performed "mark up" on the Wyoming Office of Tourism budget this past week accepting the "Governor's Recommendation" including the cuts he requested of every state agency. The WTIC will be closely monitoring the budget when it hits the House floor for debate in the coming weeks.
Wyoming Office of Workforce Development
The Workforce Training Fund was cut $200,000 by the Joint Appropriations Committee despite a letter from the Governor asking them to keep the funding. Funds for the program have already been inadequate over the past few years as businesses, both old and new, have utilized the program to stabilize and expand their businesses. Last year, $1 million was transferred from the Business Ready Community Program when the program ran out of money. There may be an amendment on the floor to restore the funding.
HB 69 – Highway Funding – Raises the state’s fuel tax ten cents per gallon with the proceeds going to highway maintenance. Sponsored by: Revenue Committee, Passed House, now in Senate Revenue, SUPPORT
HB 70 – Vehicle Registration Fees – Raises registration fees on several classes of vehicles across the board. Sponsored by: Revenue Committee, In Committee, MONITOR
HB 110 – Off Road Gas Distribution – Allows the continuation of a gasoline tax on snowmobiles to be used for trail maintenance and repair. Passed House, To Senate, SUPPORT
HB 135 – Snowmobile Permit and Registration Fees, 2 – Increase registration and user fees for visiting snowmobilers while eliminating user fees for resident snowmobiles. Provides additional selling agent fees and repeals requirement of showing proof of sales tax paid. Also repeals required language on decals and provides for disposition of fees for replacement certificates and decals. Sponsored by Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Interim Committee. FAILED COMMITTEE VOTE, SUPPORT
HB 136 – Game and Fish License Fees – Raises fees for hunting and fishing licenses for both residents and non-residents to help fund the Game and Fish Department, and indexes those fees annually. Sponsored by Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Interim Committee. FAILED COMMITTEE VOTE, SUPPORT
HB 161 – Outdoor Advertising Fees – Raises the permit fees for outdoor advertising (billboards) with the revenue going to the Wyoming Dept. of Transportation’s Highway Fund. Sponsored by Rep. Throne. On House Floor, SUPPORT
SF 32 – Game and Fish License Fees – Raises hunting and fishing license fees to help fund operations of the State Game and Fish Department. Sponsored by: Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Interim Committee, In Committee, SUPPORT
SF 41 – State parks-ATM donations – Allows for voluntary donations at ATM locations with proceeds going to the Wyoming Dept. of State Parks and Cultural Resources. Sponsored by: Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Interim Committee, Passed Senate, now in House Committee, SUPPORT
SF 42 – Snowmobiles-permit and registration fees – Raises snowmobile fees and redirects them from the state general fund to the Trails Program fund. Sponsored by: Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Interim Committee, FAILED COMMITTEE VOTE, SUPPORT
SF 109 – Highway and Road Funding – Severance tax – Transfers 50% of the funding going to the permanent mineral trust fund into a fund to funds the highways. In Committee, MONITOR
SF 140 – Out of state workers, vehicle registration – Requires non-residents who work in state for over 12 calendar days per year to register their vehicle in Wyoming. Sponsored by: Sen. Hastert and others. In Committee, OPPOSE
SF 145 – Merit Career, Technical Scholarships – Establishes a merit career-technical education student scholarship endowment fund and an expenditure account; provides funding for future scholarships; provides for a committee to study and prepare plans for implementation of a career-technical education student scholarship program,provides an appropriation and for redistribution of federal coal lease bonus revenues to fund the program. Sponsored by: Sen. Meier and others. In Committee, SUPPORT
To view any of these bills, please go to http://legisweb.state.wy.us/lsoweb/session/BillsInfo.aspx